By Jo Finzi
This month sees the Dubai Marathon take to the streets, with competitors from all over the world. So why is it that people take up running in the first place? It’s probably because people realise that running is one of the easiest activities you can do to improve health, lose weight, and fight aging and disease.
Because it’s one of the best ways to burn off fat, many people start running in order to lose a few pounds. In fact 60% of runners start running to manage their weight.
Running burns more calories per minute than any other form of cardiovascular exercise apart from cross country skiing, but it has many other benefits apart from weight loss.
It prevents the muscle and bone loss that often occurs with age and keeps our insides from aging quickly. Regular, high-intensity exercise of this type has also been proven to promote the human growth hormone. This is the hormone that celebrities injection themselves with to keep them looking young. If you run, you won’t need those injections!
Amazingly running also helps to fight disease. It reduces the risk of stroke and breast cancer and regular running is also recommended by doctors for patients who are at a high risk, or early stages, of osteoporosis, diabetes, and hypertension. It reduces the risk of heart attacks, by strengthening the heart and lowering blood pressure. It maintains the elasticity of arteries incredibly well because as you run your arteries expand and contract nearly three times as much as usual.
Running also helps maintain and improve general health. It raises HDL (good) cholesterol, reduces the risk of blood clots, and encourages use of the 50% of your lungs that usually go unused. Running also boost the immune system by creating a higher concentration of disease busting lymphocytes (white blood cells).
The health benefits of running are numerous, but these alone aren’t all that running regularly has to offer. There are many psychological benefits too, including the confidence and character that running builds, the stress relief, the attitude boost, and last but not least finally the runner’s high.
Running allows the runner to defeat trial after trial, growing stronger and more confident with each stride. It allows you to climb hills and clear obstacles, giving a feeling of empowerment and freedom that comes with knowing that your legs and body are strong and capable.
Running also helps you gain confidence as you lose weight and your self-image improves.
Stress relief is another huge benefit of jogging. Apart from the feel-good endorphins that are released when you run, you have time to solve your problems or just escape them for a while.
Distance runs are great for solving problems as you clear your mind and allow yourself to find the answer to your nagging dilemma. Speed runs are great for releasing aggression and anger as you focus the emotion into your sprint.
Because of the endorphins released that make you feel good, running has been used for years to treat clinical depression and addictions of all kinds.
You can train the mind as you train the body, making yourself overcome the obstacles and learning focus and determination. The will and strength that gets your body through the running challenge strengthens your mind and gives you focus and determination in other areas of your life.
For more information on the local running scene, contact Dubai Creek Striders http://www.dubaicreekstriders.com/ or by emailing email@example.com and Dubai Road Runners http://www.dubai-road-runners.com/ or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
- For more information on the New York and other big city marathons, click here to read our sports coverage.